Each time Rodriguez strode to the plate, hundreds of fans left their seats and jammed a walkway between the left-field pole and the bleachers with hopes of catching the historic homer. They walked away disappointed each time.
Rodriguez didn’t come close to getting his elusive 600th homer, though he went 2 for 5 with a run-scoring single in the first inning off Fausto Carmona(notes) (10-8). He had a sixth-inning double in which his slide knocked second base out of the ground.
“I thought the milestone was doubles, so I took the base,” Rodriguez said in explaining why he held the bag aloft.
“It just popped out,” A-Rod continued. “That was good because sometimes you can get hurt if it doesn’t.”
Burnett (9-8) earned his third win in four starts, the only blemish coming in a July 17 start in which he cut his hands hitting a door out of frustration. On Wednesday he allowed seven hits over 6 1-3 innings as the Yankees improved the best record in the majors (64-36) with their sixth win in eight games—and AL-leading ninth shutout.
“I was able to throw strikes with my curveball,” Burnett said. “I felt good.”
Mark Teixeira(notes) had a two-run single and Brett Gardner(notes) two run-scoring singles as the Yankees built a 7-0 lead. Robinson Cano(notes) hit his 19th homer leading off the fourth to make it 8-0.
“He went right after me,” Rodriguez said. “It was a good battle and he got the best of me.”
Rodriguez also flipped his bat after fanning on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to end New York’s three-run third.
“I’m not upset because I had a good approach and went deep into the count tonight,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez’s sharp grounder up the middle scored Teixeira for a 1-0 lead. Teixeira was on a second with a double.
Burnett struck out seven and walked three as he continued his roller-coaster season. The right-hander opened the year 4-0 and had a 6-2 record after beating the Indians on May 30 in New York. The 33-year-old then lost five consecutive decisions before his recent resurgence. He has not allowed an earned run in seven starts—and given up six or more in six others.
“This was the best I’ve felt in a long while. Tempo is important,” Burnett said. “The ball was coming out of my hand good. I hope to keep this tempo for the rest of the year.”
Burnett finally won in Cleveland. He had been 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in four previous starts at Progressive Field, none of them with New York. He threw five scoreless innings before being lifted due to a rain delay Friday in a 7-1 win over Kansas City.
Joba Chamberlain(notes) came on after Burnett issued a one-out walk to Andy Marte(notes) in the seventh. He balked Marte to second, but got the next two batters easily. Sergio Mitre(notes) worked the eighth and ninth to complete the eight-hitter.
Carmona was pounded for seven runs and 10 hits over 2 2-3 innings.
“You know what happened,” the right-hander said. “I gave up a bunch of base hits.”
It was the worst start of the season by the AL All-Star who was looking to win four in a row for first time since finishing the 2007 season with five consecutive wins.
“Fausto just didn’t have it,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “That’s the wrong lineup not to have your pitches working for you. They hit him around and put him in a big hole.”
Rodriguez hit his 501st homer off Carmona on Aug. 10, 2007, and followed with two more the next night in Cleveland—and has since gone 9 for 45 without a homer in his last 12 games at Progressive Field.
NOTES: Rain delayed the start 42 minutes. … Cleveland traded 3B Jhonny Peralta(notes) to Detroit just before the scheduled start, getting Class A LHP Giovanni Soto in return. … Indians RHP Kerry Wood(notes), out since July 11 with a blister on his right index finger, is scheduled to throw one inning on a rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A Akron. The closer could be activated this weekend. … RHP Dustin Moseley(notes) will make his first start for the Yankees on Thursday. He is starting in place LHP Andy Pettitte(notes), who is on the DL with a strained groin. Mitre made the first spot start for Pettitte but struggled. … Teixeira is hitting .368 (32 of 87) with 24 runs in 23 games in July. … Indians OF Trevor Crowe(notes) went 3 for 4 and is batting .347 over his last 14 games.